25 July 2012


A guy I work with recently told me that a group of his girlfriends only liked to read books with female narrators. He related that their conversation ended fairly unresolved because he felt this was silly and said that he had no preference as long as the book was good.

It got me thinking about who I like to listen to when I read. What voices I enjoy most. My previous post mentioned how dull I find the ennui of white middle-class middle-aged men. And it is true. The books I listed at the end of that post are all great novels. They are some of the best even. But I cannot get over how dull it all is.

But to say I like a specific voice would be wrong. Looking at the books I've most loved I find that the common thread is a sense of humor. About the characters, the world, the narrative itself. If a book lacks that, I stop caring.

Basically I want my serious reading with a dose of humility.

Michael Chabon, Haruki Murakami, Anne Carson, Marilynne Robinson, Umberto Eco are a few of the ones I think have managed this at least once. The list is much much larger.

What authors do you think have the magic touch? Which annoy the hell out of you?

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